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Old 02-20-2006, 07:37 PM   #1
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Central America or Bust!!!! H3 -2003

So I thought I would post some pics from one of my trips. A few reasons for it, but mostly because i'm missing my bike, which was stolen in the fair city of Oakland not too long ago. Motherfuckers! and JMack, I told you I'd post them. enjoy.

2003: I'd been planning this ride for a while, months even, plotting and mapping, and figuring what would be the best route. sent out the info. to a few other groups that we run with (hash house harriers) and got one response from Paco out of Florida. Says he'll go with me to the canal. He'll meet me in McAllen, Texas, which will be our jump off point. The plan is to make our way south thru several countries for our final destination of San Jose, Costa Rica for a bi-anual party involving about 1000 hashers.

I was working in Dallas, Tx. at the time, and called in sick the last day to get an early start. Tuesday night I went to work for 12 hours, at 9am on wednesday (May 14th) , I was on the road, hauling my bikes and belongings to my parents house in McAllen, Tx. no sleep, and still had to pack up. we are leaving thursday morning 7am, May 15th, 2003. arrived to meet paco for the first time, he's on a 2001 BMW F650GS. We go to the border to get our paperwork, as it takes about 2 hours of red-tape and hoop jumping to get things in order. the power goes out while we're there and someone says it's to try and squeeze money out of the travelers to get there paperwork expedited. we wait. in bed by 1am, after packing, and up at about 5am to pack, and go.....running behind, we are finally on the road and at the border at 7am, the morning is cool, the sun is out, and this has been a long time coming...it feels good, I'm excited and shit. we got 22km to the first checkpoint, and arrive....paperwork in order, and I put things back in the ziplock bags before we go. drop the other one on my pipes...dammit, oh, well, i'm sure worst things could and will happen.......

btw: I'll be riding the only bike that I have available for this trip at the moment...a 1997 Harley Davidson FXSTS Softail Springer....fuck yeah!

The central valley is hot as hell, we pound out the miles south, towards Tampico, Tamaulipas on Hwy. 180, and the gulf coast...after a few wrong turns, we manage to make our way past the bigger cities. Today Paco and I will feel things out, see how we ride, and get syncronized for the next 20 days of riding. We've never met, we're hashers, and hashers tend to be like minded dumbasses willing to do most anything for beer.....game on!

We continued south on Hwy. 180 to Tuxpan, and the Poza Rica paralleling the gulf coast, as we're trying to make it to Veracruz, Mexico tonight. We talked to some of my family and they say it's a two day drive to Veracruz...whatever.....youthful determination will get us there sooner, I was sure of it. We see cool beach areas, with little bungalows and thatch huts with hammocks on the side of the road up against the beach, beckoning us to come rest and drink beer and smoke some cigars...we continue.

Two things we said we would not do, is ride after dark, and in the rain. Well the first night, the sun fades on us, about 1 1/2 hours outside of Veracruz, and wanting to arrive, we push on to Veracruz. Safe and sound, to a more expensive than it is worth hotel, unpack, secure the bikes, and get a good dinner.....photo is a stop about midday, somewhere near Poza Rica before going up into the mountains. Getting some drinks.

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Last edited by machete; 02-20-2006 at 07:39 PM..
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Old 02-20-2006, 07:44 PM   #2
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..before arriving to Veracruz, and after the last photo, we decided to start figuring out a faster way to get where we needed to. Paco was itching to get the dualsport off road, and I'm okay with whatever...I will of course be going way slower than him on the dirt roads. I come around a corner and see paco at the side of the road, saying that there is a sign that says "the ferry is in operation" sounds like something cool. without much thought we go for it. it's a dirt road, pretty rough, he charges ahead, and I tell him, that I'll catch up, no worries.

about 5 km ahead, we arrive to a ferry that is run by some old diesel engine and a little mexican guy charging 5 pesos each (10 pesos = roughly 1 dollar) to get us across the 50 or so yards of lily covered river. Pretty cool, so we take some photos. I've got a knocking from the rear of the bike, so after we get off the ferry, I check, and it seems that the saddle bag support has hit the axle nut cover on one of the potholes where I bottomed out, and has bent it. so i remove the axle nut cover. who needs flash on a trip like this right? oh, well, item number one off the bike, left rear axle nut cover.

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Old 02-20-2006, 07:45 PM   #3
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..more ferry....

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Old 02-20-2006, 07:46 PM   #4
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..checking the damage to the axle nut cover, and removing.

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Old 02-20-2006, 07:57 PM   #5
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we sat around for dinner that night, and had a fantastic and cheap dinner, before checking in via email and letting family know we made it, even when they thought we wouldn't arrive to veracruz that night. to bed, and we're getting an early start the next day. We awaken, to a dark sky, cool weather, bundle up, nothing hard core, it's probably in the mid to upper 60's, and very very humid. the bikes are loaded as I wake up everyone in a 2 square block radius with the harley and it's loud pipes, and no, I didn't really care how loud they were.

we make our way out of the city and go southwest along the toll road 150 towards El Tamarindo, Mexico. We manage to get lost again. But no matter, during the morning and initial ride, we are on a long straightaway road, thru the morning mist and fog, watching the jungle trees off in the distance, lush and green with the humid smell of the vegetation permeating our noses....this is life. I have a shit eating grin from ear to ear, and there's nothing I can do to get rid of it.

As the morning moves on, we arrive at the cut off for Hwy. 145 and another toll road (145) so far, we've decided to take the safe route, as neither one of us has any idea what is to come. That will change with time, as we decide to get off the beaten track and seek bigger and better adventure.

Riding now south along the 145, we go thru rolling hills/mountain peaks at a higher elevation, the morning sun almost directly in front of us, as we're in the southern boot of mexico, heading east. Our pace is varied, I don't mind going fast.....really fast at times, and sometimes happy to cruise, but for now, we're moving quick...85-90mph....it's easier to get out of tickets down here than the states. I notice on the side of the highway, an old man, shuffling along at a mean pace, for what I can estimate he's in his 70's or maybe even 80's hunched over, hauling his backpack, looks like he's going to the next town, or whatever he's doing. I am inspired by this old mans seeming tenacity of doing what he does, on his own, no nurse to assist him, no person to drive him anywhere, just going about his business even at his age........don't know why, but I had a moment, and I thought to myself that it was an awesome sight to see. wished him luck under my helmet.

our days are starting to line up, as stop for gas, get a bottle of mineral water, and eat some beef jerky. we don't stop for lunch and barely any breakfast, pound out the miles as we go.......
oh, yeah, the reason is, that it's now friday, and there is a party tomorrow in San Salvador, that we are trying to get to. hahahaha. like I said, anything for beer.

this photo was in southern mexico after heading south on Hwy. 185 towards the pacific ocean and the other coast of mexico.....we stopped for gas and a break. it's very hot out. we were riding along and saw two motorcycles coming our way, when they passed us, it was hilarious, because it was a harley davidson electraglide and a bmw GS rirding together. kind of a mirror effect. the landscape was also changing, many banana trees, and hills, with clay dirt, and the road sucked. worst part, we were down to 50 mph.

this is paco.

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Old 02-20-2006, 08:04 PM   #6
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further south or east as it may be, we stopped for gas along the Hwy. 200, which is marked as a 4 lane toll road, when in actuality it's a 2 lane non-toll road, and a 2 lane toll road. well, we just booked it on the toll road. the same on either side, as far as conditions, but with much less traffick. we stopped for gas along the way, and found out that the power was out, so they couldn't pump gas. dammit. looks like we're going to wait for a bit, as we're not sure we can make the next gas station. while we're there, this guy rolls up to us, he needs to get some gas, in a jug for a vehicle at home. he's on one of those mopeds, where you have to pedal (don't know the name of them) but the motor doesn't work, so he just pedals that thing wherever he goes...and with one arm. yeah, he's missing an arm. so i ask to take a photo and he says that's cool.

the kids all sit around bullshitting with us, the power comes back on, and we gas up and head out. a gallon of water now lashed to Pacos bmw so we don't have to stop to buy water. a few miles up the road, I see something fall off of Pacos bike, and watch it slide by me...it's the water jug...oh, well, looks like we're stopping.

we trade leads on the road, and while I was in the front....I was riding along at a good clip.....had the jacket off (whatever nazis) as it was hot as hell, when all of a sudden, I felt something flutter next to me, and felt a huge sting on my left arm....FUCK! look down, as I cradle my arm in with the pain, and note some feathers...WTF?! yep, a bird, took it out with my amazingly huge biceps...hahahaha....well, they're not huge,, but I managed to catch the fucker just right. so i move the arm and he goes to rest on the road...moments later paco, comes flying up and says I dropped something, I sign language to him, it was a bird, and we both get a good laugh. moving on to the Guatemala border, as it's getting late in the day.....

we pass a guy on a bicycle doing it the hard way, with a pack trailer attached, doing it one revolution at a time. he gets a honk, and thumbs up from us, and he waves at us. freaking awesome to do that.

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"whoever said nothing is impossible,
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Last edited by machete; 03-13-2006 at 01:47 AM..
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Old 02-20-2006, 08:06 PM   #7
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Holy crap! One of the locals is trying to jack your bike!
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Old 02-20-2006, 08:10 PM   #8
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Rick,

You Bastard. You know I've been jealous of your Moto -escapades.

Just hurry up and come back to the Bay Area so we can continue our "Master Plan" of taking it to the track.
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Old 02-20-2006, 08:12 PM   #9
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...well, it's may, and the rainy season is here, so we expect we'll be gettin some rain, and like clockwork, as we'll find out will be the routine now that we're heading into central america, the rains seem to come right at 5 o'clock! it starts first with a spattering of drops, and the sky getting darker...we're not to far from the border, so we just pull over and get the rain gear on. Making our way to the border, we don't know what to expect. except what we've read about and what we've heard about thru word of mouth. There are "tramitadores" which are young men/women that will help you get your paperwork in order, for a nominal fee....which they will try and make as much as they can. usually 20 bucks. and they do all the running around. we speak the language, so we decided we would do most of it ourselves, and tip them, if they moved us along. they will try and scam you no matter what. it's how they make a living, so I don't much blame them, one just has to be a little smarter or on the lookout. we'll soon realize that no matter how prepared you are, it will happen, they will get your money...how much of it, depends on you the individual.

we don't have the exit stamp from mexico, and it's after 5pm, and the offices are closed, but for 100 pesos (10 dollars) they can do it "under the table" which they do, and now we can move over to the guatemalan side...it's raining, and I take a moment to look at the bridge and the jungle in the foreground, with the rain, and the cars dissapearing into the jungle and I think to myself, holy shit, this is it, lets fucking do it. and that grin sits on my face as wide as before.

this photo, is looking across the bridge towards guatemala from the mexico side at the border crossing: Talisman.

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Old 02-20-2006, 08:12 PM   #10
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Holy crap! One of the locals is trying to jack your bike!
no dude, that's me.
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Old 02-20-2006, 08:13 PM   #11
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Rick,

You Bastard. You know I've been jealous of your Moto -escapades.

Just hurry up and come back to the Bay Area so we can continue our "Master Plan" of taking it to the track.
You got it dude. by the way, got the GSXR running and I'm ready for the track! be back soon!

haha, and wait until I post up the eurotrip on motorcycles.
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Old 02-20-2006, 08:17 PM   #12
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we finally got thru the guatemalan side of the border after another hour of paperwork...which by the way is all done by hand, and old school typewritters. Paco keeps reminding me to slow down, and that things will get slower the further south we go, and to just roll with it, as my impatience and need for quicker service sometimes gets the better of me.....i begin to pay attention and I feel more relaxed, go figure....

we make it thru and there is no immeidate town on the other side of the border, it is pitch black, we're going into the jungle, and we find a small town on the map that is about 10 kilometers up the road. we're going to have to do it...no matter if we break the no rain, no night time riding rule. it's broken, and after tonight, we just don't care about it. so we make our way to the town of Malacatan, Guatemala, and find ourselves without resources, and do the first thing we felt we needed to. we needed to eat, and get our bearings. so we find this small roadside "cafe" guatemalan style, and order the hot plate and a beer. bust out the map, and warm up a bit.

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Old 02-20-2006, 08:22 PM   #13
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well, the server doesn't even speak spanish, she speaks one of the indian dialects of the guatemalan indians. we manage to point, smile and indicate one of each, and get what we want. Now, to survive in situations like this, one needs to think about whats going on, and to look for the right people to help you out. I notice a candy store being run out of someones home across the street, and it looks like a lady and some kids are manning the store, even at this hour, which feels really late, but it's only like 7pm or so. I walk over, introduce myself, and explain our situation, and that we're looking for a small hotel to sleep the night, she is very helpful and gives us great directions to this small hotel, that has an indoor garage area, to park the bikes. i thank her, and go back to eating.

we make our way to the hotel, and get one room for the night. walk over to the local saloon, and get a beer, after showering. One thing about the showers, is that the water heater is installed along the piping on the shower head, it's like one of those automatic coffee maker machines attached to the pipes, wired in by hand, with no insulation and or protection......and YES, I imagine if I touch that thing, I'm going to get some kind of voltage thru me that will knock me on my ass. so i strengthen my quads while showering as I squat down....funny shit. glad no one was watching, except the cockroach on the edge of the shower sill. little perverted bastard.
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Last edited by machete; 02-21-2006 at 10:15 AM..
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Old 02-20-2006, 08:24 PM   #14
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this was the hotel in the morning. bikes parked in the central courtyard. the sky does not do the previous nights storm justice. every morning it's the same. clear and sunny with beautiful weather and the sun is out by 5am.

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Old 02-20-2006, 08:26 PM   #15
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...after we pack up, we head out for the day, we want to cover some mileage, and it's not that far to the other side of guatemala and into El Salvador.

We stopped at this gas station, fueled up, and took this photo. Mind you I didn't have a digital camera at the time, or there would have been many more photos. Also, we are busting ass....as it is now Saturday, and we wanted to make it to San Salvador by midday...might be a stretch, but there is beer, and we will try.

one of the volcanoes in the background...not sure which one.

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